Indian Gamboge

Scientific Name of Indian Gamboge:Garcinia xanthochymus Hook.f. ex T.Anderson

Common Names of Indian Gamboge

English: Mysore Gamboge

Malayalam: ഇരവി, ആനവായ

Tamil: Kulavi, Malaippachai

Hindi: Jharambi

Sanskrit: Kankushtha, Tamala, Lokaskandha, Tapinja, Tapitha.

Plant Description

Indian Gamboge, scientifically known as Garcinia hanburyi, is an evergreen tree that can reach heights of up to 18 meters. The bark is smooth and dark brown, with a white blaze. The branchlets are angular, hairless, and contain a bright yellow latex that is profuse. The leaves are simple, opposite, and clustered at the branch ends. The leaf stalk is 0.6-1.5 cm long, channeled, sheathing at the base, and hairless.

The leaf blade is typically elliptic, occasionally narrow obovate, with a pointed to tapering tip and a narrowed base. The leaves are leathery or sub-leathery, hairless, and exhibit 6-8 pairs of secondary nerves, with tertiary nerves that are often obscure. The flowers are polygamodioecious and reddish, with male flowers occurring in groups of 2-4 in leaf-axils fascicles or on old wood. The sepals number 4, are round and decussate, with the outer pairs smaller than the inner, and they are hairless. The petals, 4 in number, are slightly larger than the sepals, round, veined, and concave. The stamens range from 10-12 and are monadelphous, with filaments combined into a subquadrangular central column, and red, round anthers.

Female flowers are solitary, larger than male flowers, and are borne in leaf axils. The berry produced by the Indian Gamboge is approximately 3 cm across and contains 4 seeds. This species is found in Indomalaysia, specifically in the Western Ghats throughout South and Central Sahyadris. The flowering period typically occurs from February to April.

Ayurveda Uses of Indian gamboge

In Ayurveda, Indian gamboge is known as “Rasanjana” in Sanskrit, has been historically utilized for various therapeutic purposes. However, it is essential to approach the use of gamboge in Ayurveda with caution due to its inherent toxic compounds. The traditional applications of gamboge in Ayurveda include:

  1. Laxative Properties: Gamboge has been traditionally employed as a purgative or laxative in Ayurvedic medicine to alleviate constipation by promoting bowel movements.
  2. Anthelmintic (Anti-parasitic) Properties: Gamboge has been utilized to expel intestinal worms and parasites, believed to possess anthelmintic properties that aid in eliminating parasites from the digestive tract.
  3. Skin Disorders: In Ayurveda, gamboge has found application in topical treatments for certain skin conditions. Its presumed antimicrobial properties make it suitable for external application to address specific skin issues.
  4. Rheumatism: Traditionally, gamboge has been incorporated into Ayurvedic formulations for conditions associated with rheumatism and arthritis, as it is thought to exhibit anti-inflammatory properties.

It is crucial to emphasize that despite its historical use in Ayurveda, gamboge contains compounds that can be toxic. Excessive use or improper administration may result in adverse effects. Modern medicine and Ayurveda have evolved, and safer alternatives are often preferred.

If contemplating the use of any traditional remedy containing gamboge, it is strongly advised to consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner, preferably one with expertise in Ayurvedic medicine. This ensures a proper understanding of dosage and safe use, as self-medication with potentially toxic substances can pose serious health risks.

One of the ingredients in Ayurveda medicines:-

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